Type of Content: Research

Subtype: Journal Article

Resource Title: Understanding Older Worker Precarity: The Intersecting Domains of Jobs, Households and the Welfare State

Publication Title: Ageing and Society

Publish Date: September 2018

We argue that many older workers, not just those in ‘precarious jobs’, feel a sense of ‘onto- logical precarity’. Pressures to work longer, combined with limited alternative employ- ment prospects and inadequate retirement incomes, give rise to a heightened sense of precarity. We develop a new theoretical model for understanding precarity as a lived experience, which is influenced by the intersection between precarious jobs, precarious welfare states and precarious households. This model is then illustrated using qualitative research from two organisations in the United Kingdom: ‘Local Government’ and‘Hospitality’. In both organisations, older workers experienced a sense of ontological pre- carity because they worried about the long-term sustainability of their jobs and saw limited alternative sources of retirement income. Household circumstances either reinforced interviewees’ sense of precarity, or acted as a buffer against it. This was particularly important for women, as they typically accrued smaller financial resources in their own right. Our concluding discussion builds on this more advanced theoretical understanding of older worker precarity to call for a rethinking of state and employer support for decisions around later-life working and retirement.

Understanding Older Worker Precarity: The Intersecting Domains of Jobs, Households and the Welfare State

Resource URL: https://bit.ly/2kqrenB